With a rotating cast of players and a coming out party of a future star, Lancaster repeated as Class 5A state boys basketball champions. Lancaster held off to-rated Fort Bend Elkins, 67-64, at San Antonio's Alamodome.
Lancaster (35-2) rolled out multiple star players in its second-consecutive state championships. With seniors Deon Barrett, Darius Anderson and Ike Durham connecting on critical 3-pointers in the first half, it was the athletic 6-1 junior Tahjon Starks who stave off a fierce Elkins rally. Anderson and Starks each had 20 points and Barrett with 12.
With Lancaster's 6-5 Louisiana Tech signee JaColby Pemberton forced mostly to the bench with a tender knee, Tigers coach Ferrin Douglas just kept putting in players who produced. Even with 6-11 senior Nate Morris (Mississippi) on the bench with foul trouble, it was junior Starks who showed an aggressive style with the 6-1 junior trying a second-half dunk in the lane which led to a double-digit lead in the third quarter. Starks has blossomed into a major college prospect in the back half of Lancaster's season and he made key baskets and free throws to hold off Elkins.
Starks made the final point on a free throw but it was thunderous dunk by Morris on a long pass to break Elkins' press which gave Lancaster a 67-64 lead with 22 seconds left.
Lancaster had built a 36-27 halftime lead, but Elkins rallied to within one but never tied or retook the lead. Lancaster had mostly rolled through the state playoffs with five double-digits wins with a nine-point margin over Frisco Liberty as the closet margin coming into the state final.
Lancaster was a heavy favorite when it defeated Beamount Ozen for the state title last with seniors Elijah Thomas, Antwon Portley and Dominique Fobbs leading the way with Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy on hand watching Thomas as one of his prized recruits for the Class of 2015. Thomas has since transferred to Clemson.
But it was Elkins (36-2) that came in with the state's top ranking for this year's tournament. Lancaster rebuilt its roster and kept its same aggressive style under Douglas.